What does one miss the most when they move to a new neighborhood? Friends definitely. This is what the story of Driveways deals with. The film begins with Cody, played by Lucas Jaye who arrives at the home of his recently deceased aunt with his single mother Kathy, (Hong Chau). While Kathy gets busy with the unending task of clearing the old house and everything her sister left behind, Cody roams around the neighborhood.
Loneliness can only be eradicated once it is shared with another person feeling the same, which became true with Cody who surprisingly befriends a Korean War veteran widower, Del (played by Brian Dennehy) who lives next door in near solitude. The unexpected bonding between Del and Cody is beautifully explored throughout the film. Death touches all these three main characters but they have different perspectives of their regrets over past mistakes and adjoining anxieties about the future and that ultimately lies at the core of Driveways explored by Korean Director Andrew Ahn.
Del, a rainbow in Cody’s cloud.
Del, who has been alone for a large portion of his life, understands Cody’s shyness and vulnerability as a boy struggling to make new friends in a new neighborhood. Though both the friends are from different generations yet the common isolation and loneliness bind them together. The relationship feels fresh and liberated, different from the cliches bonds seen on dramedies of this kind. Driveways definitely overview the back and forth movements of the day by day life as Cody and Del find and keep an eye on their profoundly felt security.
Subtle Moments with Deep Impact
There are certain moments in the film that make your heart weep vulnerably, like Cody quietly burying the dead cat that he and his mom discover in the tub; Del, who eats his microwaved dinner everyday in isolation; and Kathy coming to terms with the fact that she never really knew her deceased sister and now she will never get the chance to do so.
Such scenes carry the film along with an underlying sense of melancholy, but through his ace direction, Andrew Ahn shows empathy and tenderness for his characters which gives Driveways an essence that never wallows in misery. In fact, every moment of melancholy is quickly layered with moments of happiness throughout the film. One such moment happens when no kids show up to Cody’s birthday party but suddenly Del arrives and takes Cody and his mother to a Veterans of Foreign Wars post for bingo night, which ironically becomes Cody’s idea of a good time anyway.
Del’s involvement in Kathy’s and Cody’s life bring slow but gradual changes in their lives which melts the audience’s heart in a very innocent manner. It builds interest in the minds of viewers who are drawn into the life of Del and Cody’s emotional bond.
Driveways is a film that explores the pain of being lonely and different, about people leading lives of quiet desperation and its devotion to the belief that kindness can be an antidote for almost any wound that is deep and unnoticeable.
Driveways works perfectly in a comfortable, serene, and rather a sincere way, permitting us to make our own conclusions about its characters through our perspectives and experience.
Driveways is a 2019 American drama film directed by Andrew Ahn and starring Hong Chau, Lucas Jaye, and Brian Dennehy. The film was premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival. It was released on video-on-demand on May 7, 2020.
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